Allied Able: The bike that doubled up at Dirty Kanza 200
EMPORIA, Kansas (VN) — Colin Strickland was still catching his breath from his race-winning effort at Saturday’s Dirty Kanza 200 when our photo director, Brad Kaminski, caught up with him at the finish line. The Dirty Kanza is known to chew up and spit out even the most rugged bikes, components, and tires. Kaminski asked Strickland what piece of gear was most integral to his victory on the flint roads.
“This new Allied Able was the perfect bike for this race,” Strickland said. “This whole setup—it was flawless.”
The Little Rock, Arkansas-based Allied Cycle Works launched its new Able just a few days before the race. The bike is the successor to the company’s successful Allroad, which was built for gravel racing and long-distance adventures.
The Able is focused squarely on racing performance, and boasts more aggressive geometry and wider tire clearance than its predecessor. Internal cable routing and a 1X specific setup are signs that the Able is built specifically for races like the Dirty Kanza 200.
And yes, there is also the innovative raised drive-side chain stay, which gives the bike its signature look. That raised chain stay allows the Able to support up to a 700c x 47mm tire (or 650b x 47mm), and to boast a short and aggressive wheelbase.
Strickland’s setup included Enve’s new 3.4 wheelset with Chris King R45 matte slate hubs. For tires, Strickland ran Specialized Pathfinder 42mm tires. He said he punctured twice during the race, and fixed the first flat with a plug, and then used Orange Seal tubeless sealant to fix the second.
“I jumped off the bike, and I always rotate the pucture to the bottom so that it gets plenty of sealant to spew out and plug the hole, and luckily it plugged really quickly,” Strickland said. “Pull it out, rotate the wheel, and let the Orange Seal do its work.”
His drivetrain was Shimano Ultegra Di2 with a Stages driveside power meter, an XTR Di2 rear derailleur. And Strickland ran a 46-tooth single chainring up front and a 11/40 cassette in the rear.
Now, on the morning of the race Strickland decided to use his Enve SES clip-on aero bar extensions—he said he was on the fence about the aero bars in the week leading up to the race. Strickland told us on the VeloNews Podcast that he would support it if the race decided to forbid the aero extensions. But, since they are legal, he decided to use every mechanical advantage that was offered to him, since he often finds himself riding long breakaways in races.
“I flatted early in the race and had to chase for 20 minutes flat-out to get back into contention, and [the aero bars] helped me get back into the race,” Strickland said. “Until they change the rules, it would be almost silly not to use them since they are such a helpful tool in these circumstances of chasing or escaping.”
Now, Allied’s success at the Dirty Kanza 200 continued several hours later when Amity Rockwell of the Easton Overland team crossed the line first to win the women’s Dirty Kanza 200 race. Rockwell also rode aboard an Allied Able, a race bike she received just a few days before the event.
Rockwell’s size XS bike featured a long list of Easton components, including the EC70 AX wheelset, EC90 SL crankset with a single 42-tooth chainring, and EC90 stem and handlebars.
Like Strickland, Rockwell had a Shimano Ultegra Di2 gruppo with an XT Di2 rear derailleur and a 11/42 rear cassette.
Unlike many of the other female competitors, who battled mechanicals and flat tires, Rockwell made it through her race without a single flat tire. She ran Schwalbe G-One Allround tires (38mm).